It’s happened to so many of us.
You interviewed for that position you’ve been eyeing and it went off without a hitch. You’ve patiently waited to hear back from the employer. Days pass, then weeks without any communication. Reality sets in–you’ve been ghosted.
TechTarget defines ghosting as, “ceasing communications without notification.” Undeniably a two-way street, professional ghosting is initiated by employers and candidates alike.
Unfortunately, for job seekers, ghosting often feels just as hard (or harder) to accept than rejection. Lack of closure and clarity fuel uncertainty, making it difficult to shift the focus onto other opportunities.
With plenty of experience guiding learners toward meaningful employment opportunities, Executive Career Coach Megan Pritchett knows this trend all too well. “What I hear from students [when they get ghosted] is just frustration, confusion… really just discouragement,” she elaborates.
We met with Pritchett, as well as Esmeralda Garcia, our Director of Global Career Coaching, and Heather Hans, a seasoned career coach, to discuss the topic of ghosting. Discover tips and hear more from those conversations below.
Ghosting Tips and Advice from Our Experts
Communication is an art form, especially when it comes to your career. Add in the possibility of getting ghosted, and things become even more complex.
Job seekers have very little control over whether or not they get ghosted. Because of this, responding to or overcoming those situations requires a balance of active and reactive strategies.
No strangers to ghosting themselves, Pritchett, Garcia, and Hans provided us with some tips and advice that all share one common theme: self-reflection. Take a look at what they recommend:
Continue reading for more on each tip along with supplementary advice from our experts, in their own words.
Preserve Your Energy
In the wake of radio silence, job seekers tend to focus on the “why.” Listen below as Hans weighs in on this reality:
The truth is ghosting is universal.
When deliberating your ghosting response or strategy, one important distinction to make is between over-analysis and self-reflection. Instead of over-analyzing the employer’s “why,” which is out of a candidate’s control, be intentional about where you place your energy.
Pritchett suggests giving employers the benefit of the doubt, and shifting your focus towards self-reflection, then action. Listen below for her thoughts:
After you’ve decided to move on, take time to digest the reality of your situation. This will help you to think objectively and focus on actionable steps.
Let Patterns Drive Iteration
Our experts believe that ghosting presents a unique opportunity for job seekers. In some instances, it can even act as a catalyst for your career success. Pritchett recommends reflecting on your experiences with ghosting and paying close attention to any patterns:
Use these opportunities to consider where there might be a disconnect with the role or company that ghosted you. As Pritchett explains, the possibility of having a skill gap exists, but it is even more likely that something is missing on your resume – and Hans certainly agrees:
Revisit your career materials to check for errors and make sure that you’re tailoring them for the job you want. By shifting your focus to actionable tasks, you flip the script and take power back into your own hands.
The next time you apply for a position, you will have newfound confidence in what you’re bringing to the table to supplement your communication strategy.
When it comes to professional communication, strategy is paramount; and when it comes to professional ghosting, follow up is essential. Hans has seen this play out first-hand through the career wins of her students:
It should come as no surprise that the first step you should take after any formal interview, informational interview, or networking opportunity is to follow up. In addition to Hans’s tips on how you should approach this, there is value in who you send to and when you send.
Although each scenario requires its own good judgment, our experts recommend that you limit the amount of times you follow up and re-focus on who is receiving your communications. Garcia and Hans explain:
Even if you have perfected the language in your follow-up and diversified your contacts within a company, there is still more to consider. Communication is only as good as its timing. Hans shares her best practices for when to send your follow-ups, below:
Every Communication Matters
The last, but arguably most important, tip to consider when an employer ghosts you is that every communication matters. This goes for both initial and follow-up communications.
As we’ve mentioned, you cannot control the actions of an employer. You can, however, take an active role in your own career. Hans, Pritchett, and Garcia express the importance of this below:
Take time to ensure that your initial communications with employers and industry professionals are the best that they can be. Command the attention of your audience, make a positive impression, and employ preventative ghosting measures through succinct and pointed outreach.
Like we previously discussed, ghosting feels very personal. If you end up not getting the response you were hoping for – or none at all – make sure to set your emotions to the side and wow that company (or person) with your communication skills.
By putting your best foot forward in every communication, you are opening yourself up to potential contacts and proving the strength of your character to employers. After all, you never know how far that positive interaction will take you.
Pritchett says it best: it’s all about what you can control.
With the right tools, tips, and resources in your pocket, ghosting will only feel like a minor inconvenience or even, better yet, an opportunity to reflect and iterate. The most important thing is that you are able to maintain your confidence and self-worth despite adversity.
The next time an employer ghosts you, take time to self-reflect and make necessary changes to your strategy. You never know, the right employer might only be one positive interaction away…
Ready to put what you learned into practice? Check out our Tools & Resources page to learn more about career materials, outreach, and more.